Hosted by the Office of Research and Graduate Education Jan. 25-26, the conference featured over 100 posters and 30 oral presentations. The broad scope of impactful work was derived from all five health schools – Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Public Health – and included undergraduate, graduate, medical and professional students, residents and faculty.
This year’s keynote speaker was Patricia S. Stegg, Ph.D., senior investigator deputy chief for the Women’s Malignancies Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute.
As part an ongoing initiative supported by the Chancellor’s Office, opportunities for attendees to connect throughout the conference were sponsored by the Blue Sky program. These events included time for colleagues from various disciplines to relax together outside of the formal presentation sessions.
Several participants were recognized for excellence across a variety of categories.
First-year medical student Andrea Pettit received the inaugural William A. Neal Outstanding Research Award for the oral presentation titled “Social media down to a science: A qualitative analysis of claims made in MMR vaccine videos uploaded to YouTube.” The award was presented by Charles Mullett, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics, who commented on Dr. Neal’s passion for research and its connection to optimal clinical care.
Medical student Quincy Hathaway was recognized in the Translational Science and Population Health Oral Presentation category for the presentation titled “Prediction of heart failure incidence through pectoralis muscle quality: Semantic segmentation in chest computer tomography.”
Ph.D. Oral Presentation winners include Abha Maskey, a student in the Cancer Cell Biology graduate program, with the presentation “Targeting nuclear AURKA and hypoxia signaling pathway to attenuate metastatic burden in Triple Negative Breast Cancer,” and Evan Cramer, a student in the Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine program, with the presentation “Unlocking the potential of catalytic DNA.”
Evan DeVallance, a postdoctoral trainee in the Department of Physiology, Pharmacology & Toxicology, was recognized in the Postdoctoral Presentation category with the presentation “Beneficial role of xanthine oxidase (XO) in heme crisis: Hepatocellular mechanisms of XO upregulation and release.”
A variety of poster presentations were also recognized for their excellence, including:
- Alen Eid, medical resident in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
- Alexis Crockett, Ph.D. in Neuroscience
- Anirudhya Lahiri, Ph.D. in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis
- Angisha Basnet, Ph.D. in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis
- Bethany Koontz, Medical Degree program
- Dominic Lombardo, Medical Degree program
- Emma Miller, B.S. in Immunology and Medical Microbiology
- Hillary Pratt, M.D./Ph.D. scholar in Cancer Cell Biology
- Margalida Mateu-Borras, postdoctoral trainee in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology
- Maryam Magharesh, Doctor of Pharmacy
- Mena Mansy, M.S. in Biomedical Sciences
The first Van Liere Research Conference was held in 1965 and recognized the research of medical students in the School of Medicine. Dr. Edward J. Van Liere, the dean of the School of Medicine from 1937 to 1960, developed the two-year medical school into a four-year accredited program. The conference has continued to grow in terms of participation and the scope of the research presented over the past several years. The celebration of the diversity of investigations, and investigators, continues to highlight the excitement around research at WVU Health Sciences.
Neal, the first winner of the conference, went on to be a professor and physician in pediatric cardiology and founded the Coronary Artery Risk Detection in Appalachian Communities Project. The William A. Neal Museum of the Health Sciences opened in the fall of 2022.
To learn more about WVU Health Sciences, visit health.wvu.edu.